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Thread: Should every small business have a website?

  1. #21
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    I still go back to one of my customers who had $70 million in sales and no web site. They didn't need it, their marketing was not going to be helped or hurt by it, so they didn't bother. I have another customer does well over $5 million a year, no web site. They don't really need it, because their list of customers is very small, so calling those potential customers and establishing a personal relationship is a better use of their time and energy.

    As Paul said: most businesses probably would be better served by having a web site. B2C pretty much demands it now, although there are still situations where you can skip it. But B2B... it becomes more of a question of whether that marketing tactic will work better than other marketing tactics.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Altenhofel View Post
    Typically when we hit about 1/4 tank, we start looking up gas stations within our refueling window....

    I'll tell you straight up that I personally won't hire you without one, no matter who referred me to you. ..........For me to call someone to just find out what they can do for me requires me to clear 20-30 minutes from my schedule just to attempt the call.....
    To each their own I suppose. When I'm driving on the turnpike I just stop at the next available rest stop to refuel and get a cup of coffee,I don't really need to research it. If I ran a fleet of delivery vehicles then perhaps I would do as you do.

    If you couldn't spare 20 minutes to discuss an involved business process, and would prefer to make your decison based on a website, then you simply wouldn't be my target market.

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    All businesses should have a website and social media pages

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    It completely baffles me to hear that any company doing over a million in sales doesn't have a website. Not even a basic, this is who we are site. How would having a website not help in marketing the company? How do you know that a site wouldn't attract more potential customers without a salesperson lifting a finger?
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    How do you know that a site wouldn't attract more potential customers without a salesperson lifting a finger?
    That's why there are few absolutes in marketing. Because if you really truly understand who your customers are, then you'll truly know exactly which marketing channels will work best for finding those clients. My two customer examples knew exactly who their clients were going to be. It is a finite known set of customers for them. And their potential clients know that there is a finite known set of vendors (for the $70 million firm, the list is about 50 companies in the USA) to provide what they do. If you want to win business in these markets, you go hat-in-hand to the person in charge at these firms and you ask for their business. They aren't going to search for you or even research you on the internet, that's just not their buying model.

    Just like if I'm driving down the highway, I'm not researching the mini-mart at the next exit on my phone. I'm looking for signage. Why? BECAUSE I'M DRIVING!! And the mini-marts model is based on that, not on someone researching what mini-mart they want to stop at on their long drive.
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    Why would anyone assume that every business wants to post up a website just to say who they are. As Freelancier has said it’s a marketing tool. It’s not a required license to be in business.

    There are many B2B businesses that have no use for a website and certainly have no obligation to reveal “who they are” to the general public. There are specialized manufacturers that are well established within their industries and don’t need or even want a website. Many in the financial investment world operate behind the scenes and don’t need or want public exposure. Many companies operate on grants and government contracts that are secured via bids and/or proposals, none of which are influenced by a website. Many businesses operate outside of the consumer community and within their own behind the scenes industries and networks. Again, as Freelancier said, their marketing is completly different than a consumer oriented businesses.

    Consumers would certainly research banks and rates online if they were seeking a mortgage loan. But, I doubt Donald Trump sits with his lap top looking for finance deals for his projects, he just calls investors and bank presidents; no web site involved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul View Post
    Why would anyone assume that every business wants to post up a website just to say who they are. As Freelancier has said itís a marketing tool. Itís not a required license to be in business.

    There are many B2B businesses that have no use for a website and certainly have no obligation to reveal ďwho they areĒ to the general public. There are specialized manufacturers that are well established within their industries and donít need or even want a website. Many in the financial investment world operate behind the scenes and donít need or want public exposure. Many companies operate on grants and government contracts that are secured via bids and/or proposals, none of which are influenced by a website. Many businesses operate outside of the consumer community and within their own behind the scenes industries and networks. Again, as Freelancier said, their marketing is completly different than a consumer oriented businesses.

    Consumers would certainly research banks and rates online if they were seeking a mortgage loan. But, I doubt Donald Trump sits with his lap top looking for finance deals for his projects, he just calls investors and bank presidents; no web site involved.
    Because donald is in an older generation. The new generation uses the web to connect with people the most. An online presence (even if it is just your domain and 1 pager) going to be more and more relevant as my generation ages.

    An example of this is the pawn/oddities store not that far from me. You'd think a pawn shop wouldn't need a site, but I absolutely love that they do. They post the coolest stuff on their facebook and link info and pricing on their website.

    The hotdog vendor at the beach doesn't have a website, but the owner of the company would. He would post times and days and locations where they are located. He would then post maps of where everyone.

    Have you ever tried to partner up with a vendor? Some of them require that you provide a website address so they can look at you and make sure you are a legitimate business that they'd want to do business with.
    Last edited by Wozcreative; 06-22-2014 at 02:19 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Altenhofel View Post
    I'll tell you straight up that I personally won't hire you without one, no matter who referred me to you. I like to do my own research on what a person does on my own time. If one highly trusted source told me to call you, and another less trusted source told me to call another guy, if the other guy has an informative website I'm going to hire the other guy because I didn't have to waste time asking what it was exactly that you could do for me. For me to call someone to just find out what they can do for me requires me to clear 20-30 minutes from my schedule just to attempt the call. I can check the other guy's website while I'm in the bathroom, waiting on a meal, pumping gas, waiting at the bank, and know whether or not those 20-30 minutes for a call will have some sort of positive return.
    Yep. And that's what it boils down to. In this day of being able to find information about anything instantly, people aren't going to do your sales and marketing for you and call for more information. They just aren't. Unless you are the only game in town, and even then you are still leaving money on the table by not providing your potential customers with an easy way to find out more about you and instructions on how to do business with you.

    You think people just know? Well they don't.
    You think "If they're really interested they'll call"? Really? What number? How would they know you exist to even know what number to call?
    The Yellow Pages? I just threw my new one in the trash because I already have pages left in the old one that I use as glass cleaning wipes.

    What if they weren't interested, but would have been "sold" by more information on the website?

    Like I said, it's your business. Run it how you want. No website just creates more opportunity for those that do.
    Last edited by Harold Mansfield; 06-22-2014 at 03:56 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wozcreative View Post
    Because donald is in an older generation. The new generation uses the web to connect with people the most. An online presence (even if it is just your domain and 1 pager) going to be more and more relevant as my generation ages.

    An example of this is the pawn/oddities store not that far from me. You'd think a pawn shop wouldn't need a site, but I absolutely love that they do. They post the coolest stuff on their facebook and link info and pricing on their website.

    The hotdog vendor at the beach doesn't have a website, but the owner of the company would. He would post times and days and locations where they are located. He would then post maps of where everyone.

    Have you ever tried to partner up with a vendor? Some of them require that you provide a website address so they can look at you and make sure you are a legitimate business that they'd want to do business with.
    Hi Woz, Your point is well taken. The internet is a great tool. Older and younger generations use it. I use it extensively and Iím an older guy. I have had a web site when I was marketing a certain kind of consulting. It worked fine and I attracted business that way. But, my business focus changed, my target market changed, and a web site now is completely useless for me.

    My point about Donald Trump was a simple example, but it is the same for ANY age developer in the same position. Large developers typically donít need the web to find financing; they are already connected to those types of lenders. Those types of lenders donít look for clients on the web; they are already connected to the developers through other means.

    There are many businesses in certain industries that operate differently. Some donít want a public profile revealed online. Some industries have their own culture and means of interaction that have nothing to do with web sites or social media.

    You have a great site that makes perfect sense for your type of business. You need to have a display of your work to show to prospects. You are responsible for everything from attracting prospects, to closing them to completing the work. My business is entirely different. I am a cog in a machine; I expedite and coordinate certain functions within a larger process. Thatís why my referrals come from within an industry, not from the internet.

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    This is funny: the people who do web sites are saying everyone has to have a web site. I'm shocked!

    As a web site developer/designer, you come into contact with 100% of the types of business who need a web site and 0% of the businesses who don't. As a developer, I come into contact with 100% of the types of businesses who need my type of software development and 0% who don't. But I wouldn't even consider generalizing and saying that 100% of all businesses need my type of software development to survive in the modern world. That's just not a realistic assessment of the business world.

    Web sites are a marketing tactic, nothing more. If your best potential customers don't look on the web site find someone like you, then that's not the marketing tactic you need to use for your business.
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